Pend D'Oreille Recreation Area
BC Hydro's Pend d'Oreille Reservoir serves not only as a source of hydroelectric power, but also as an attractive recreation area for the public.
Recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, canoeing, wildlife viewing and fishing.
For details on Pend D'Oreille, follow the links below:
- History and hydroelectric operation
- Recreational facilities (campground, day use area)
- Seven Mile Dam viewpoints
- Visitor information
Access and directions
Need directions? View a map of BC Hydro recreation areas, including specific directions to the Buckley campground, and the Seven Mile Dam viewpoint. The Pend d'Oreille recreation area is situated southeast of Trail, B.C.
Find out about recreation area closures and restrictions.
People of the Kalispel First Nation were the first to live in the Pend d'Oreille Valley, thriving on the area's abundant flora and fauna.
The valley's name was coined by French-Canadian voyageurs in reference to the local native people that made a practice of wearing dangling shell earrings.
In 1855 gold was discovered where the Pend d'Oreille River joins the Columbia River. The Dewdney Trail, stretching from Fort Hope to the gold fields near Fort Steele in the East Kootenays, opened this area up to mineral exploration, the development of mines, and later, to logging and hydroelectric power generation.
Clearing for Pend d'Oreille Reservoir started in the fall of 1976. The entire reservoir was cleared prior to flooding to its initial level of 522.7 metres (1,715 feet). Flooding took place in November 1979. Further clearing was carried out in 1988 when the reservoir's maximum operating elevation was increased to 527.3 m.
A number of privately owned parcels of land were acquired by BC Hydro for the project. In all, 335 ha (835 acres) were transferred from BC Hydro to the BC Ministry of Environment to be managed for white-tailed deer habitat.
Power development consists of a concrete gravity dam, spillway, powerhouse, switch-yard, system of access roads and other associated works. The dam is about 65 m (215 feet) high, with a crest length of 350 m (1,140 feet). The powerhouse has four generating units, with the last installed in 2003.
The total generating capacity is 790,000 kW. The reservoir behind the dam extends some 15km (9 miles) upstream across the American border to the toe of the Boundary Dam. The reservoir is about 420 ha (1,040 acres) in area, which includes 170 ha (425 acres) of flooded river channel.
The Seven Mile project has the highest power yield per acre flooded of any operational hydroelectric plant in British Columbia. Normal maximum reservoir level is 527.3 m (1,730 feet) elevation.
BC Hydro's Pend d'Oreille Reservoir serves not only as a source of hydroelectric power, but also as an attractive recreation area for the public. Recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, canoeing, wildlife viewing and fishing. There are two recreation areas:
Open May 1 to September 30.
- Designated wheelchair accessible campsites and pit toilets
- 22 campsites – each with fire ring and picnic table
- Sandy beach
- Four pit toilets
- One water well handpump
- Gravel boat launch
- 60 metres of boarding floats
- Firewood is available for a small fee (cash only)
- Day-use and boat launch parking lots
- Information shelter
- Drinking water
- Two picnic tables
- Two vehicle pull outs
- Two information shelters
- Reservoir levels can change rapidly (up to 6m each day). These fluctuations can result in exposed shoals or anchored debris. In addition, spring freshet will often result in inflows containing debris. Boaters must be particularly vigilant during these periods.
- Avoid the designated hazard areas above and below Seven Mile Dam and obey all posted signs.
- Always remain upstream of the debris boom on the Seven Mile Reservoir.
- Obey all boater safety regulations.
- Ensure that you have an accurate map.
- Carry emergency and safety equipment, extra shear pins and propeller.
- Ensure familiarity with local conditions and reservoir hazards.
- Inform others of your destination and when you plan to return.
- Check the weather forecast.
- Follow the campfire safety rules.
- Maximum 14 overnight visits per season.
- No reservation of sites is permitted. Campers failing to occupy sites overnight may have their equipment removed at their expense so that others may use the site.
- Firewood is available for a small fee (cash only). Please inquire with the Recreational Area Warden.
- Keep fires contained to fire rings.
- Firearms and hunting are prohibited within the Recreation Area.
- Deposit all refuse in the containers provided.
- The Buckley campground is open to the public seasonally from May 1 to September 30.
- The tailrace viewpoint and the viewpoint on top of the dam are open year round.
- Camping can bring you into contact with many species of wildlife, including deer, bears and cougars. Never feed wildlife and keep your pets under control. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Ensure that all food materials, garbage and fish entrails are bagged securely and placed in the appropriate containers.
- Please be respectful of fellow campers and obey instruction from the Facility Operator or Campground Host.
- Visitors are cautioned to watch for work vehicles and heavy equipment within the vicinity of the dam.